A federal investigation called “Operation Vanilla Gorilla” has led to the arrest of 43 white supremacist gang members across the state of Georgia on a slew of federal charges.
The arrests were announced this week by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, noting that a grand jury turned out 83 counts related to the trafficking of methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin as well as gun-related charges. As Savannah Now reported, U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine said the arrests were centered on the violent white supremacist street gang known as Ghost Face Gangsters.
The gang members had adopted the term “Vanilla Gorilla” for their acts of violence, authorities said in a press release this week announcing the arrests.
“Vanilla Gorilla is a title that many of the Ghost Face Gangsters wear proudly. In fact, one of the lead defendants in this case has Vanilla Gorilla tattooed right on his chest,” Assistant United States Attorney Greg Gilluly, Jr. said. “It’s a sign of pride to be a Ghost Face Gangster and to be included as a Vanilla Gorilla.”
As Savannah Now reported, the Ghost Face Gangsters are well-represented in Georgia’s prison system, with over of its 2,000 members currently behind bars.
I love the name of this: Operation Vanilla Gorilla: 43 white supremacist gang members arrested on gun, drug charges. https://t.co/arPE72d8l4— Ozzymoto #Resists ???????? ???????? ???? (@Ozzymoto27) November 20, 2018
This is the latest in a series of federal investigations aimed at white supremacist gangs. Earlier this month, a federal raid on white supremacist gangs in Florida led to the arrest of 40 people and the seizure of more than 100 illegal weapons, including a rocket launcher.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida announced — via the US Justice Department’s website — that the raids targeted the Unforgiven and United Aryan Brotherhood gangs for gun and drug violations. Those involved in the raid praised the joint work of local and federal investigators that led to the arrests. with the investigation reportedly taking several months. Those charged in the raid face anywhere from a few years behind bars to life in prison if convicted.
And just a few days before that, federal authorities led the bust of another white supremacist gang in Indiana. As Fox 59 noted, the Aryan Brotherhood was targeted after an assault on an inmate in the Bartholomew County Jail tipped off authorities to a larger operation spanning prison and members on the outside. The ensuing investigation turned up a vast operation to smuggle drugs into prisons and for gang leadership behind bars to order assaults and thefts.
In Georgia, “Operation Vanilla Gorilla” included 43 defendants charged with a total of 561 crimes. Trials are expected to take place in the coming months.